What makes a good distro from: A new User perspective

incedis

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I am new to Linux ( a couple of weeks ) and would like to have your opinion as far as what constitutes a good distro from a User perspective? Keyword here being User as opposed to Admin or IT guy.
A couple of weeks ago I embarked in a Linux Journey. Right away I started distro hopping. I still have no idea why I did that but after reading many posts, it appeared I was not the only one. Today I came to the conclusion that it was a waste of time. Probably was looking for the newest kernel, with the most up to date stuff; thinking that would make a difference. Who was I kidding !!

The best distro is one with stability. A long term support (LTS), the kind Ubuntu offers. Most of the time, I can't fix issues. Why use the newest kernel with a high risk that something goes wrong !!

The second most important part is the DE. I learnt the hard way that you need to have a distro that has a seamless integration with your DE. Most would consider the fact that Linux offers a variety of DE to choose from a good thing. As a new User, I would argue the opposite. I learnt the hard way that a simple update of a library can break your entire system. I am leaning once more towards Ubuntu. Their DE is extremely well integrated with their OS. Very much like OS X would be..

For my third point, I would lean towards a distro that offers an easy install of your video drivers. Video drivers that have been tested so to limit the risk of your machine booting to a black screen. I guess you would call that a terminal o_O.

Finally, a handling of your laptop resource that would make Windows blush. I need to have decent uptime on battery and a laptop that keeps cool to avoid fans roaring all the time. This is a must. Ubuntu has everything implemented right out the box for that. Simplicity is the key word for new Linux User.

I read many Posts and Docs about Linux before jumping in. None brought me any insight described above.

PS: I know some of you are going to come at this with the learning curve idea when using Linux. My response is, yes, but as a user this is only a reactive learning and not a pro-active one. Meaning, an issue arise, then I have to learn how to fix it.

Curious to have your opinions !!
 


Lord Boltar

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Ubuntu is good and it is easy to install graphics drivers like NVIDIA just click on Software & Updates then the additional driver tab
1.png

This is from my laptop once you select the driver click Apply Changes - done
Several Ubuntu based OSes have this same feature - like my Expirion Linux, and the other various flavors of Ubuntu - a lot of people distro hop until they find something that suits them that is one of the great things about Linux - choices - not stuck with one desktop only - the main thing is you can customize any version to just about whatever you want - lets say you have Ubuntu with the Gnome Desktop but you want to try Xfce desktop you can simply install that desktop and select it when you get to the Login screen you can always remove the desktop later if you so choose.
 
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Brickwizard

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your first consideration should be what do I want to use the laptop for
the second is what distribution will run best on my laptop, if its new then a latest build with the latest drivers and kernels, if its a few years old you may consider either a mid or a lightweight distribution [to give any guidance we would need the full specs make and model]
then you need to decide if you want a stable release that gives regular updates or a rolling release which may need more work to maintain
DE's come in two basic forms, leightweight and functional [XFCE for example] or eye candy [cinnamon or a hack n' mack type] again its your choice to make, and as you have already found out you can put any desktop on any distribution

these are decisions only you can answer

bwiz
 
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incedis

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I disagree. A new User (without an IT background) cannot answer those questions. As far as for my laptop I am quite content with Ubuntu (for now).
 

KGIII

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I disagree. A new User (without an IT background) cannot answer those questions.

I disagree. I think it's perfectly fair to expect a new user, of any kind, to need to answer those questions. It's up to them to learn and weigh the benefits. It's up to them to educate themselves and then make an informed decision.

Here's my thinking with regards to the 'best' distro, which may explain some more.

 

Linuxembourg

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I disagree. A new User (without an IT background) cannot answer those questions. As far as for my laptop I am quite content with Ubuntu (for now).

I am not sure how you need an IT background to know what you are going to use a laptop for.
 

Linuxembourg

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Keyword here being User as opposed to Admin or IT guy.

The problem here is that a simple user may come in various guises. It might be someone like me with a few GB of RAM who wouldn't touch Ubuntu, and would have as much hassle removing stuff from it as I would working out how to add a video driver.

I am not an IT guy, but among 99% of friends/colleagues I am very much the IT guy. All of these people who consider me to be an expert are also potential users. The gap in our knowledge is at times as vast as the gap between me and the actual IT experts on here.
 

Brickwizard

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I think the biggest problem newbies have is one of mindset comeing from a system where all have to fit one [Windows and Microsoft] to a system where one dose not fit all [linux with over 500 distributions many with specific usages ]
 

KGIII

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probably that is why Linux will remain a niche on the desktop.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

I did the math recently and the number of Linux desktop users is (depending on whose numbers you use) 38,000,000 and 44,000,000 people.

Then, there's so many things where Linux dominates - from servers to mobile.

I'm perfectly okay with Linux remaining a niche desktop operating system. I see no reason why that should change. If it did, I'd just have to answer more questions that could have been answered by using a search engine.

Look up Eternal September if you want to see what it's like when your tech is flooded by new people.
 
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incedis

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@KGIII -> not at all. I am Ok with that and honestly don't really care much about it. I find it a paradox though when as a newbie I read a lot of post and docs and find people (Linux fans) fighting against the world to promote Linux. I actually find this very weird.
They even fight to promote their DE of choice. I came to Linux for privacy and security and that is all. I have no interest for the rest and simply wished I had found Doc/Posts to guide me a bit better in my search simply to save me some headache and time.

PS: Use the tool that fits you best for the task at hand..
 

f33dm3bits

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I find it a paradox though when as a newbie I read a lot of post and docs and find people (Linux fans) fighting against the world to promote Linux. I actually find this very weird.
They even fight to promote their DE of choice. I came to Linux for privacy and security and that is all. I have no interest for the rest and simply wished I had found Doc/Posts to guide me a bit better in my search simply to save me some headache and time.
Like in any other community there are toxic people everywhere so also in the Linux community. Most people start with Ubuntu, Mint or PopOS from there if you have interest you will understand Linux more and find out you can install different Desktop Environments until you find one that suits you. Ubuntu and Mint have documentation although I think Ubuntu's wiki page are outdated. What kind of docs are you looking for?
 
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What makes a good distro from: A new User perspective

Hmm lets see.

What makes a good distro for a new user is how willing a new user is about learning some basic Linux how to knowledge.

As a new Linux user I've tried many different Linux distros. and each worked well although come with a learning curve.

To overcome the learning curve required me the user to learn some basic Linux how to knowledge which is easily done.

Want to have a good experience with Linux then you must be willing to learn some basic Linux how to knowledge.

An unwillingness to learn some basic Linux how to knowledge will most like result in a bad Linux experience.
.
The above imo as a new Linux user is What makes a good distro.
 
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KGIII

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I read a lot of post and docs and find people (Linux fans) fighting against the world to promote Linux.

I suspect you'll find those are a small, but vocal, minority. Like all things, Linux attracts some zealots. It also attracts people who use Linux as a part of their identity.

Me (and most users that I know)? We don't really care. Use what works for you. We're not even 'opensource zealots'. Sure, in an ideal world we could get by with FOSS and FOSS only applications/systems. This isn't an ideal world and evidence suggests it never will be.

For example, even the software that's running this forum is closed-source, proprietary, and requires purchasing a license.
 

Condobloke

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A close choice would be:

Linux Mint 20.2 (cinnamon or xfce)...depends on your pc's capabilities, specs etc
 

kc1di

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I believe we are seeing an increase in the number of new users or at least those trying linux for the first time. Because of the recent issues with Windows 10/11. They come but do not yet understand the Linux culture and hear lots of things but have little knowledge of how it really works. That is where forums like this one come in to help them see what they really need. It will require some learning on their part. Some to take up the challenge, many will simply go back to what is familiar to them. But the rewards for pressing on are great. The one thing that I have found that most new users are most confused about are the Choices they now have. Helping them navigate that is key to keeping them here. But as others have said I'm not to worried about it myself as those that choose to stay will be better off in the end.
So what does a new user need most my list is short.
1. Help navigating the choice before them (Distros, programs, ETC.)
2. Help learning that the terminal is not the enemy but the friend.
3. Help learning a new file system
4. Help sorting out the best situation for them.
5. Help navigating Hardware Issues (most of them will be using hardware designed for windows and some of it is not well supported in Linux.) This one may actually be one of the biggest hurtles to overcome. As most people just expect their machines to work out of the box. Linux has gotten so much better over the years but still can not work on a lot of hardware that's out there.

Honestly for some I recommend they go back to MS or Mac.
 

kc1di

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Oh one other things most newbies do not give a hoot if it's Foss or not. Just want it to work with little or no trouble.
 
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